Nafplion sits on a small rocky peninsula that juts into the deeply indented Argolic Gulf west of the 'thumb' of the hand-like peninsula of the Peloponnese.
It is one of the prettiest cities in Greece, its narrow streets facing away from the sea to the sheltered northern harbor, with old balconied and shuttered houses sitting up along the north slope of the hill above the bay below its citadel, at 85 meters, alternately called Akronafplio and Its Kale.
To the south east of the town is the Venetian fortress of Palamidhi. Between 1829 and 1834 it was the seat of Greek government and it was here that Greece's first prime minister, Kapodhistrias, was assassinated.
The Bavarian King Otho, first king of Greece (placed by European powers) had his royal residence here 1833-4.
Paleolithic remains have been found on Akronafplio as well as a Neolithic cave in the vicinity. The name of the town comes from the Greek words for navy and ship, and the town may have been the naval port of ancient Argos.